On Your Side Alert: Apple devices hacked

If you use an Apple device, then you've probably heard about the recent cyber attack that locked devices in Australia and eventually spread to users in the U.S. Many of you may be wondering if  you should be concerned and how you can protect your information.

We don't hear much about Apple devices been hacked but cyber criminals found a way.

They were able to lock devices like iPhones and iPads. Kevin Boynton with The Computer Doctor of Richmond explained what likely happened.

"They may have come across a list of iCloud users and just run a cracking program against those user names and just eventually got lucky over and over again," he said

It's not clear how the hackers managed to do it, but we know they were only able to break into phones that didn't have passcodes set that would lock devices. Boynton stresses that Apple products are still as safe and as reliable as ever. He says the problem was not Apple's security, but consumers not taking the right safety procedures.

"Apple has confirmed it knows about it, but they haven't really changed anything because it's not really their fault. It wasn't a security breach on any of their systems, it was mostly just probably weak passwords on the fault of the users," Boynton said.

In a statement, Apple said it takes security very seriously and iCloud was not compromised. The company recommended impacted users should change their Apple ID passwords. Our computer expert says the key to protection is making sure your device is always locked and creating a strong password.

"A strong password is at least eight characters, should be more, and a mix of letters, numbers, uppercase, lowercase, symbols and that kind of thing. It should not be a dictionary based word," Boynton said.

Keep in mind that hackers have programs designed to crack passwords. Boynton recommends changing yours once a year. To manage them all, he advises using a password manager program.  If you run into a problem with your Apple device, visit your local store or contact the company.

Two men accused of hijacking Apple devices and holding them digitally for ransom have been arrested in Russia.

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